Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Greater Periwinkle
Vinca major

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vinca (VIN-kuh) (Info)
Species: major (MAY-jor) (Info)

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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6 positives
6 neutrals
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative BayAreaTropics On Sep 12, 2012, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

This plant is evil incarnate. It will invade fern to cactus beds,smothering on much or little watering. This plant would make John Muir throw his hands up in frustration, finally breaking down and use Roundup. Or even Paraquat.
There is NO proper use for it.

Neutral stephenp On Sep 12, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bit of a nuisance here, it has let itself go in the wild and has colonised woodlands, and pretty much colonises anywhere it can find. It is a winter flowerer only here.

Pretty flowering though!

Positive rickc304 On May 13, 2012, rickc304 from Niles, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is a good groundcover, I consider simievergreen. Grows back vigoursly in spring wile producing violet flowers then keeping its foliage through summer and then into the holiday season.

Negative ZiggyGoodfellow On May 25, 2010, ZiggyGoodfellow from Beverly Hills, CA wrote:

Why is this plant listed as "poisonous" in all parts?

It's listed as an herb in Charles W. Kane's "Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest" (although he emphasizes mainly external applications), in John Lust's "The Herb Book", where either Vinca Major or Vinca Minor is recommended as a tea for nervousness, and in Matthew Wood's "The Earthwise Herbal", where both tinctures and infusions are recommended.

Surely if all these herbalists recommend that people take teas of the plant into their body, it is not poisonous!

If anyone would like to email me a response to this, I'd appreciate the input.


Positive carle On Mar 29, 2010, carle from Katy, TX wrote:

I live in the Houston area, and I have this plant growing in a flower bed - it gets afternoon shade. It is very drought tolerant, and prevents the weeds from forming because it is an excellent ground cover. It grows around my roses and shrubs and doesn't try to climb them. I love the blue flowers in spring time. This is an excellent plant for hot and humid areas. It spreads slowly but is not invasive or a problem. Perhaps our clay soil slows it down a little bit. I plan on transplanting it to other parts of my garden where I need to prevent weeds from taking over. The varigated leaves are very pretty even when it is not in bloom.

Negative purplesun On Oct 16, 2009, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

I don't like this plant. Although it is native here, it is aggressive and a nuisance to keep in bounds. My mom likes it though.

Neutral jeffeljefe On Oct 14, 2009, jeffeljefe from Philadelphia, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

The invasiveness must be a climate issue (Cpt. Obvious reporting for duty) because I don't have a problem with it in 6b/7a Philadelphia.

In fact, I wish it were a little more vigorous because I had to walk on some of mine to pull weeds from my birdseed and to put in some bulbs and it seems to resent being trod upon because it has been very slow to recover in the spots where I walked the most.

Negative gmclamb On May 1, 2009, gmclamb from Charlotte, NC wrote:

I hate this stuff, it is a major headache. Does anyone know when these plants produce the seeds? I want to cut it back and start pulling up as soon as possibe but I don't want to do it if it has seeds that will spread even more than they already have. I live in N.C. and today is May 1, 2009. If anyone knows anything about this plant's timing on seeds please let me know at:

Positive giftgas On Mar 21, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

A much stronger grower than the variegated version...this is a great plant, I love it.

Neutral rubygloomrox2 On Oct 20, 2008, rubygloomrox2 from Red Wing, MN wrote:

I like this for the acidic shady area out back where nothing else grows under the pine tree. It's a fantastic filler plant. However, it was very neglected and when I moved in, the only thing growing here. So I've had to put in borders around it in order to keep it under control and be able to grow other plants. Otherwise nothing has a chance and anything else gets choked out.
They are very pretty, though, and if you have an area where it's okay for them to just grow wild and nothing else seems to work, this is the plant for you. However, know that you will need to take care any place else you plant it.

Negative tinabeana On Jun 13, 2008, tinabeana from Greenville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have both vinca major and minor in my yard. Vinca major is the much more invasive of the two, growing over it's smaller sibling anywhere the two meet. Let me put it this way: you know a plant is invasive when it chokes out the baby bamboo that's randomly growing in your flower bed... I've pulled out a pile that overflowed a wheelbarrow, but unfortunately that was just one 10 x 2 ft area.

Living tendrils are difficult to remove from the ground, as they have an extensive and spidery root system. Any root that remains with most assuredly grow into a new plant. As hard as they are to deal with, they're still easier than the dead tendrils found underneath: these dry into cord-like whips that seem even more tightly rooted than their living counterparts.

To be so invasive, this plant reacts very poorly to the hot and dry summer days in my area: the thin leaves wilt easliy leaving me with mounds of what almost look like wilted lettuce greens. While I like the larger flowers of v. major, I much prefer the foliage on v.minor: the leaves are smaller, more closely spaced, darker, and hold up better in the summer.

Negative tbweber On Jan 11, 2008, tbweber from Huntsville, AL wrote:

Horribly invasive even when completely neglected. Roundup won't touch it, and digging makes only a small dent as the tiniest piece of root will continue to spread. Also loves to hide in other plants. My liriope is infested with vinca now. It does have pretty new foliage and blooms in February here, but by summer's heat it's just a tangle of vines, some 15 feet long. Will also jump any edging to take over your lawn. If you're in zone 7, please reconsider before adding this one - or come to my house with a shovel and large truck.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 15, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Greater Periwinkle Vinca major is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Neutral pforrester On Jun 17, 2006, pforrester from Fallbrook, CA wrote:

I bought a flat of periwinkle b/c I saw a large shaded bank covered with them in Santa Paula CA. So I just planted part of the flat (42plants) Under my trees. Hoping they will become groundcover without having to bring irrigation specifically to them. There are some drip hoses here and there and some might get some water from the grass sprinklers. I will report back. I hope they go everywhere. I am in zone 10b San Diego county.

Positive enya_34 On May 5, 2006, enya_34 from Madison, WI wrote:

Works well as a ground cover under white oak trees on the south and west side of the house. It coexists well with the interplanted ferns, hostas, Solomon seal and spring bulbs.

Negative taraAthan On Dec 26, 2005, taraAthan from Redwood Valley, CA wrote:

Vinca major is invasive in riparian (streambank) areas in California and other Western US states. Problems it causes are displacement of native species, erosion and bank destabilization, and it is a host for the insect pests blue-green and glassy-winged sharpshooters, which carry Peirce's disease, a pathogen of vineyards and orchards.

The alternative, vinca minor ,is a better choice for landscaping in these regions- it is not invasive. If you have this plant in your landscape, please try to keep it from spreading into the riparian areas.

Positive m8urnett On Jul 16, 2005, m8urnett from Syracuse, UT wrote:

Grows great on the north side of my house in full shade and on the south side in full sun. Doesn't take much to keep the runners under control.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Apr 4, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have the variegated form of this plant growing as a ground cover in one of my flower beds. It is spreading, as desired, and currently in bloom. It provides an interesting, low-growing background for my other plants.

Neutral pokerboy On Sep 28, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant can become very invasive however if caught early it is easy to eradicate. It is primarily grown for its flowers however it is sometimes grown for its foliage. Very drought tolerant. pokerboy.

Negative Kelli On Nov 7, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Very invasive in this climate (low-elevation, non-desert southern California) and very hard to get rid of. Has naturalized in the wild.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Dewey, Arizona
Goodyear, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Fortuna, California
Grass Valley, California
Merced, California
Mountain View, California
Oak View, California
Clifton, Colorado
Delray Beach, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Titusville, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Elburn, Illinois
Louisville, Kentucky
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Romeo, Michigan
Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Red Wing, Minnesota
Mathiston, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Tijeras, New Mexico
Cincinnati, Ohio
Niles, Ohio
Jay, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Gold Hill, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Viola, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Crockett, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Syracuse, Utah
Madison, Wisconsin

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